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Reps accuses security agencies of rights violation during COVID-19 lockdown

By Msugh Ityokura, Abuja
25 November 2021   |   4:04 am
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions, Jerry Alagbaso, yesterday, accused security agencies of human rights violations during the COVID-19 lockdown

A Nigerian police officer flags down an on coming vehicle at a checkpoint . PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions, Jerry Alagbaso, yesterday, accused security agencies of human rights violations during the COVID-19 lockdown

He claimed that the police, followed by the Department of State Services (DSS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Nigerian Army were the major violators of rights violations during enforcement of the pandemic’s rules.

He spoke at the “Experience sharing session on administrative injustice arising from COVID-19” organised by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) with support from the European Union (EU) in Abuja.

Alagbaso noted that the violations included arbitrary arrest of citizens.

“The cases of these arrests were rampant to the extent that even journalists, who render essential services, were arrested and detained by the police illegally.”

The lawmaker decried the overzealousness of some men in uniform, urging change in attitude.

Participants shared their experiences, with the most accusing the police of extortion and other forms of abuse.

The session also heard from partakers how the COVID-19 pandemic exposed ‘rife’ corruption in the country against government’s continued avowal of putting in place critical infrastructure.

Domestic and sexual violence, which increased during the lockdown as observed by civil society groups and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), was also on the front burner.

PLAC’s Executive Director, Clement Nwanko, said the event was to aggregate lessons and recommendations poded by the virus for improved socio-economic well-being of vulnerable groups.

Besides, there were recommendations on legislative interventions to protect the rights of women in public emergency situations.